Before the Flood – Thoughts

Before the Flood!

This is a heroic achievement in the craft of storytelling. Even if you’re a climate skeptic and you’re confident in that position, I recommend watching this movie. It’s a beautiful piece of art containing stunning videography, fascinating scientific insights and a look at the global community.

Merchants of Doubt

I’m currently reading Merchants of Doubt. Elon Musk recommended it during his long conversation at the Baron’s investment. This book tells the story of the scientists who fought the scientific community when they concluded that cigarette smoking was bad for your health.

Apparently, this same group of thinkers are selling doubt around climate change. The term, “Merchants of Doubt” was found during the investigation of a cigarette company. The cigarette executive used that term to define how they fought back against the scientific community.

So, if you want to go deeper into this subject, listen to this book on audio.

If you’re a climate denier, PLEASE READ MERCHANTS OF DOUBT. I’ll read any book you suggest and we can share notes. I’m always open to changing my mind on things. Please, it needs to be a book or some other referenced document that is based around scientific inquiry.

Some Strange Pieces of Information

The film is called Before the Flood, but the story of the film uses The Garden of Earthly Delights as it’s visual metaphor.

While doing some research, I mistakenly became nervous after I googled “Before the Flood.” As you can see, Before the Flood is a different painting than the painting which is a center piece for the movie’s story.

The Garden of Earthly Delights

The Garden of Earthly Delights Hieronymus Bosch

The World Before the Flood

William Etty's The World Before the Flood

Respectably, Not a Great Title

Why they named the film Before the Flood rather than The Garden of Earthly Delights is beyond me. Before the flood signifies inevitable disaster. This is a negative emotion. Wouldn’t we better call this movie The Garden of Earthly Delights? It focuses the attention on the abundant future we will continue to work towards.

Politics is the art of the possible.

I think proponents of an environmentally sound future should express excitement, optimism, and abundance thinking to invite more into this global mission.

Kevin Kelly

If you’d like to fall in love with science, watch this movie about why Kevin Kelly loves science.

Kevin Kelly is confident that the earth is NOT doomed. I believe that we can win the climate conversation when we focus on optimism and abundance that Kevin talks about.

Taking Action



It’s easy to start. The best thing we can all do is to stop eating beef and pork. Chicken is delicious anyway!

Brined in Buttermilk, and dredged in two coatings of seasoned flour.
Brined in Buttermilk, and dredged in two coatings of seasoned flour.

Going Deeper

So at the end of the film, the following URL comes up:

When you go to the above URL you take a quick 30 question survey that helps us get a sense of the carbon impact of our day to day lives.

The website then suggests an amount that you can pay to offset your greenhouse gas emissions.  But is it ok to trust them with funding? How could I feel safe in knowing the money will be well spent?

Can we Trust Our Payment?

First off, the money goes to The Forest and Sea Fund which appears to be a pass-through organization for Natural Capital Partners and the Sustainable Markets Foundation (guidestar). Jay Halfon seems to play a critical roll in the finances of the organization. They use REDD funds as a way to implement carbon credits. REDD is a smart model developed in partnership with the United Nations to fund carbon emission reductions.

There are some harsh, well referenced critical thoughts for the Sustainable Markets Foundation, but the arguments have a political tone rather than a scientific tone. Most of his arguments were unconvincing to me.

So I’m going to say it’s trustworthy enough for me to make a substantial donation to feel that I’m doing my part (and my podcast production company’s part) to become carbon neutral.

I hope you join me in doing that.

Unfortunately, I’m a big part of this problem. Click below to get your score.

Offsetting the carbon

At the end of the day, I think Before the Flood was a great film and the world is better to have it here. Thank you, Leonardo, for the great work. Also, please go visit our friends in Australia. They are experts on the Great Barrier Reef.


One Reply to “Before the Flood – Thoughts”

  1. Ian;
    Thanks for your comments on the Forest and Sea Fund. I too followed the movie with the CarboTax quiz, then pondered if the Fund (and the other two referenced) and Sustainable Markets Foundation which appears to have created “Forest and Sea Fund” as its listed at the bottom of their home page were legit. (Which is the process which led me to your site.)

    I agree, they appear legit, but there sure isn’t much public information available. Sustainable Markets does not appear in the subscription-based Foundation Search. Their Form 990 (required filing of non-profits) shows $7 – $9 Million in revenue in recent years. They donate to other causes (eg, 350ORG, Earth Island Inst. out here in the SF Bay region, numerous others in varyingly modest amounts ), but also have significant (management) fees to other untraceable entities like Our Next Economy LLC.

    Like you, I’m inclined to think they’re OK, but sure wish they were more transparent.

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